REDBLACKS great Henry Burris named to Canadian Football Hall of Fame
OTTAWA -- Henry Burris helped lead the Ottawa REDBLACKS to Ottawa's first Grey Cup championship in four decades. Now, the retired quarterback is the first member of the REDBLACKS to be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
Burris is one of four players and two builders being welcomed into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020.
"This is a remarkable day for myself and my family," said Burris during an interview with CTV News at Noon on being the 21st player elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.
"To have that type of career, with a storybook ending of winning the Grey Cup in 2016, this is beyond my wildest dreams. You only dream as a player to win a championship, but to be amongst some of the greatest ever to play this game and to be the 21st player ever to be a first ballot inductee since 1909, I'm truly humbled by this honour."
The Canadian Football Hall of Fame announced the four inductees on Thursday. In the Player category, Burris is joined by offensive linemen Clyde Brock and Freddie Childress, and quarterback Greg Vavra. In the Builder category, former Calgary Stampeders head coach John Hufnagel and former Saint Mary's University coach and Athletic Director Larry Uteck (posthumously), will be inducted.
Burris played 18 seasons in the Canadian Football League with the Calgary Stampeders, the Roughriders, the Tiger-Cats and the REDBLACKS. He played in 277 regular season games and 17 playoff contests. He is a two-time CFL All-Star and was named a Division All-Star on four occasions. Burris won three Grey Cups, and was the league's Most Outstanding Player in 2010 and 2015.
In February 2014, Burris signed a three-year contract with the Ottawa REDBLACKS. "Smilin Hank" played three seasons with the expansion Ottawa REDBLACKS team, leading them to two Grey Cup games and one championship.
In 2015, Burris was named the CFL's Most Outstanding Player during a season that ended with the REDBLACKS playing in the Grey Cup.
The next season, Burris helped the REDBLACKS win the 2016 Grey Cup. Despite suffering a knee injury in warmups, he passed for 461 yards and three touchdowns to lead the REDBLACKS to a 39-33 win over Calgary in overtime.
Burris retired in January 2017. He retired with 63,639 passing yards to rank third in CFL history.
In a statement, OSEG President and CEO Mark Goudie said, "General Manager Marcel Desjardins built an expansion team around Henry and that turned into the team that brought Ottawa its first Grey Cup in 40 years."
"We could not be any more proud to have Henry as an active part of our community and now as the first REDBLACK to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. It's a fitting cap to a wonderful career and football legacy."
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the postponement of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony in Hamilton next month. A special event will be held in August 2021 to celebrate the Class of 2020 alongside the 2021 inductees.